A while back we went to see “Beauty and the Beast” – the Broadway musical version. I have seen the animated movie – know it well, and love the music; so I wasn’t expecting to see anything new. But there was a scene that caught my attention. I suddenly saw something I hadn’t seen before.
For those of you who haven’t seen the movie or the play, here is a short version of the setup:
A handsome prince – and everyone in his castle – has fallen under a terrible spell. Because of this spell, he is turned into a beast, and all of his servants are turned into “animated” objects: a clock, a candlestick, a teapot, and so on. The only way the spell can be broken is if he – the beast – learns to love and finds love in return.
So, in this scene, Belle (a beautiful young maiden) is in the castle, and the beast is expressing his frustration over who – and then he catches himself and rephrases it: “what I’ve become.” Immediately the servants break into song, expressing their longing and hope to be made “human again.”
That’s where it hit me! There’s more to this story than meets the eye. Here is a picture of redemption! Humanity is under a curse. Consequently, we are living sub-human lives, longing for and hoping for redemption.
How does that redemption come?
When our Prince – who has become one of us – freely surrenders His life in perfect, selfless love. And when we freely receive that love we are re-born – re-humanized.
In the story the beast freely releases Belle. He is not going to hold her captive and force her to love him, even though this is his only hope of breaking the spell. Love releases. Belle comes back to him to warn him of an impending attack. When the castle is attacked, the beast refuses to fight back, and is stabbed to near-death. As he dies in Belle’s arms she says, “I love you.” And then the beast dies. But, in dying he is raised up and transformed back into the handsome prince he once was.
OK. So it’s not an EXACT parallel. Jesus gave His life for us, and was raised in glory whether we love Him in return or not. But, it is easy to see the redemptive elements of this story.
And I wonder…
Is Holy Spirit at work, even through plays like “Beauty and the Beast,” to awaken in people a knowledge that there is a better life? Does He use this play to spark in people the hope of resurrection? Does He use human creativity to draw people to the Father’s heart?
Dr. Chiqui Polo-Wood | All Rights Reserved 2016